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Noriega To Be Extradited To Panama

Gen. Manuel Noriega back in the day (August, 1989).
Manoocher Deghati
AFP/Getty Images
Gen. Manuel Noriega back in the day (August, 1989).

It looks like former dictator Manuel Noriega will spend his last days in a Panamanian jail cell.

"A Paris appeals court ruled Wednesday to grant an extradition request from Panama so the elderly ex-military strongman can serve out sentences given after he was convicted in absentia there, in the latest phase of his complex legal odyssey," The Associated Press reports.

As NPR's Greg Allen has explained, Noriega finished his sentence in the U.S. in 2007. He had been brought here after the 1989-90 U.S. invasion of Panama, to face charges of helping Colombia's Medellin drug cartel move cocaine to the United States. Noriega was convicted.

But Noriega, now 77, wasn't released after he had served his time in the U.S. in part because of a legal dispute over where he would go next — France, to face money laundering charges, or Panama. Last year, the U.S. sent him to France. Now, it appears he's headed home to serve time for his convictions in absentia on charges of "homicide, corruption and embezzlement," as the AP says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.